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NW525: Stefanie & Prim (Bluetick Coonhound/Greyhound Mix, AK)

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    • #7770
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Prim is an almost 5-year old female hound mix who loves All-Things-Scent. A rescue, she has had issues with confidence and tends to be quite subtle with her alerts when stressed or distracted. A Harry Award winner, Prim has earned her NW1 (May 2014) and NW2 (September 2015) titles. We’re currently training toward the NW3 and tracking in our spare time. Our goals for this course are to work as a synchronous team, to tidy up “bad” habits, and to have renewed purpose after a big move (a local one, but in many ways more difficult for us all than relocating across the country to Alaska!)

      Prim is loving the new location: same forever home, different house. Already we are seeing her becoming more comfortable with her routine and surroundings. This is echoed in her work ethic and her determination to locate scent. “The nose knows!” 🙂

    • #7780

      Welcome back Stefanie & Prim! I hope we can help Prim to embrace all things nosework in her new world and gear up both of you for that challenging and fun NW3! 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7857
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      All About That Bass

      For this search, I chose three challenges for Team Prim: blind hides (number and location); distractors (outside in our driveway where there is adjacent yard and scrub foliage. Prim has had focus issues due to the wildlife in the area: arctic hares and moose); and vehicles, an element that Prim is slow to engage.

      Overall, I think this video represents where we are right now. Prim is getting back to work, but is easily distracted if she is “pulled” away by a stronger stimulus such as a wildlife smell or even a floatplane noise.

      To begin, unbeknownst to me, she does blow by the first hide on the gas cap of the blue vehicle, instead going to the grill where she gives a beautiful alert. I want to treat faster as a goal, and I do this pretty quickly. Next, she begins to go to the black vehicle, but then ends up wanting to track into the thickets. My body posture stiffens as I reel her in; this is something I need to work on as I don’t want to send negativity down the line. I re-cue her and she does alert on the bumper area. In hindsight, I need to treat faster to avoid the batting and potentially scratching of a vehicle. We then head around the black vehicle and there are some technical problems with the camera which we edited out. Again, Prim seems a bit lackluster and I re-cue and she does a nice (and surprising to me elevated) alert on the gas cap. By her eye expression, I can tell she’s done and I correctly call “finish” as the video stops. This was gutsy as we didn’t check one side of the blue vehicle and I need to be thorough and not take such silly and unnecessary risks.

      Overall, I would like to work on body posture, rewarding faster, and leash length. It seems in real time that the length is appropriate, but when viewing the video, it looks short. What do you see?

    • #7901

      Ok, really good first search that might highlight some of the issues! 🙂

      So your planned challenges were:
      * Blind search
      * Unknown number
      * Distracting environment
      * Vehicles

      So really you had 4 challenges here. The OTHER challenges I see are:
      * Elevation for 2 of your hides
      * Close convergence of odor
      * Environment

      Yes, I said “Environment” again. 😉 Something we discount as a simple challenge can sometimes be much more that just adding another hide. You not only have the sniffing of the foliage but the possibility of live animal distraction. It appears to be dusk, as well. Is it not true that some critters become more active at this time?

      One thing I noticed, especially knowing the high degree of distractability from Prim, is that you let her explore into the surrounding shrubbery and yard at a couple of locations. It is TRUE that sometimes dogs will need to go out and investigate adjacent greenery in order to work back to a hide BUT it seems that it was clear that was not Prim’s reason for ranging out. So as handler advice, I would say to not let her do that. The moment you think she’s mentally off on another adventure, get her back.

      You mention that Prim blows by the hide in the gas cap. I don’t think she actually detected it when she went by, even fairly close. She didn’t give any signal of acknowledgement that I could see. And it was after she passed it, and investigated the other vehicle that she found the hide on the BBQ. Which tells me the odor was going in the other direction.

      Another thing to consider is limiting the number of blind hides you do. It is virtually impossible to pay fast when you are not certain where the hides are and you’re waiting for confirmation. Plus, the unknown number of hides adds to the challenge, as well. Yes, you need to work on that but you say you knew Prim was done by the look in her eye. So maybe if you do blind searches, know the number of hides and keep her in the search area for another 30 seconds to see if she gives you that “eye” consistently. Then you both learn something. 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #8000
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Thanks, Kim, for your keen insight. Yes, it was dusk (we’re losing daylight quickly now) and the critters are out in full force. Because this is so much of our daily lives at our new house that is located more in the country, I perhaps downplay it more than I should as a distractor–we’re always checking prior to going outside and we’re hyper alert/vigilant, especially with the moose in rut. Also, I do appreciate your comments about the adjacent greenery. In the past I’ve tried to allow her a small bit of range in order to move back, but she was clearly “elsewhere.” I need to not be elsewhere, too! 🙂

    • #8001
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Lesson #2 Thresholds–Interiors:

      After reviewing this merging of four hides, I see that I’m too concerned that the video is up and running and not focusing on a positive start with my dog. I usually position her to my side (in my mind it is the left side, but I see here that I switch–I have trouble with left and right truthfully–lol!), wait for her to look at me, and say, “Prim, seek.” Here, though, I’m pre-occupied with the video and whether it is recording or not. I chose to do this exercise off leash.

      Hide #1: Start line in hallway into a large living room space; this low hide is on the right in the basket.
      Hide #2: Start line in hallway into a small guest bedroom; this medium height hide is in a drawer. I can tell Prim is in odor due to her nubbins wagging more rhythmically.
      Hide #3 This is in the master guest bedroom behind the door. She almost makes a U-turn to exit the room, and then traces the odor from the bed to the door knob area. More wagging. I am trying to be careful to not get in her way.
      Hide #4: Right after #3 in an adjacent bathroom to this bedroom. She is ready to go, but I’m not. This is a tight space and I hold back too long–I wait for her to alert, and she is locating me behind her. Too delayed with pay on my part.

      What do you see?

    • #8015

      First I will say that Prim looks really good! So my advice is more about staying with the theme of the exercise which is quick threshold hides so the dog gets into the habit of working from the line.

      In my previous comments I mentioned about limiting the number of blind hides. This is testing. In this exercise I recommend to not test but pay fast. YES, once you hear the yes (or see Prim paw) you go in and pay quickly but payment is still delayed so you will be getting more and more pawing since her reward is always coming after the paw (except with elevated hides).

      With threshold hides and when you work the threshold it is advisable for the handler to NOT come into the space until the dog has located odor or cleared the area. Note search #2 as Prim is checking the night stand. She does seem to be working diligently to locate source on the object BUT it is always possible that a hide could be on the opposite side and by stepping into the room you are blocking.

      BTW your husband actually does a pretty swift job of rushing into the bathroom to give us a good view of Prim going to source on the last hide. 😉

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #8022
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Thanks, Kim, for your astute observations. I do recall on the previous exercise you said to limit the blind hides. Yesterday, when we taped this, Prim was a bit “velcro”-y and when she is like this, she tends to be hyper-vigilant on reading my body language. My thinking is that I wanted her to find the hide and not focus so much on me. I understand now what the objective is and I’ll make the adjustment.

    • #8034

      What I’m trying to see is whether there is anything (else) you might do or try at the threshold(s) to help your dog in the various searches. It is ALSO a way to teach the dog that there may be odor up close to the start AND to motivate the dogs with simple searches. So lots of things to accomplish with quick and easy searches. 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #8055
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Lesson #2: Exteriors

      Overall, my overall assessment is that Prim struggles with low hides. She continues to work, but it does take her some time to locate the first two hides in particular.

      Hide #1: Top deck; the low hide is in the middle of the threshold of the door and the tin is very visible.
      Hide #2: Front porch; the low hide is tucked in the glass panel next to the door and is also very visible.
      Hide #3: Man door to outside: high hide is on power box area. She is beginning to get this threshold thing 🙂
      Hide #4: Back door to outside: medium hide is in retaining wall adjacent to door–I shouldn’t have said “yes,” but I was so glad that she was starting to get her groove back.
      Hide #5: Low hide on back door path: low hide is on post near ground.

      What do you see?

    • #8063

      Aha! I think I’ve just discovered something that might help you and Prim! I noticed, especially in these Exterior search videos that you start Prim VERY far behind the start line. I wanted to compare to your Interior searches and you often do this on Interior, as well. It is true that a dog should be detecting odor well before the start line but when you have a doorway that the dog needs to go thru, the closer the dog is, the better they can assess the search area, often determining from which direction the odor is coming. By starting far back you take that advantage away from Prim and she doesn’t quite assess things until she’s into the search area. (Some people even take a few seconds of time with their dog’s head OVER the threshold. I’m not suggesting this but it is something to think about.)

      The first couple of searches did not end up to be threshold searches for Prim for this very reason.

      The good news is that Prim began to *understand* that the hides were closer to the beginning of the search (I think) and in Search #3 she checks out the door opening. I think it also helped that that hide was slightly elevated so for her, it was drifting thru the door at her nose height. In Search #4 she catches odor as soon as she steps thru the door and works it to the rocks. In Search #5 it’s out in the open so no doorway to go thru.

      So, I would suggest you practice more with doorway thresholds and getting her closer to the search area before you release her. Work hides all around that doorway for Interior and Exterior to see if that helps her to solve the problems. If she really does have an issue with low hides, at least it will help her to understand it’s important to check out those low areas. (No need to post the videos, but I’d be interested to hear how that works for you!) 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #8067
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Hi Kim,

      Thanks for your thoughtful feedback. In the two different places where we train, I was taught to always start a tad back from the start line. However, I agree with you: for some reason, I am MILES from where I need to be! This has put Prim in a situation where I haven’t allowed her to maximize as it were, especially due to the door frames and the way the scent is flowing among those pesky corners and edges (oh my!)

      I will get both Prim and myself closer to the search area to assess further. She went through a spell last year where she seemed to have a “blindspot” with low hides, so honestly, I’m uncertain if that is an issue on top of my poor starting position or if it is compounding. Stay tuned.

    • #8071
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Lesson #2: Containers

      Objective: I really wanted a smooth start; in particular, I wanted to focus on my dog and physically be closer to the starting line. We filmed several containers and here are the 4 that are worthy of commentary.

      Hide #1: Prim was focused and alerted within 3 seconds. Woo-hoo!
      Hide #2: hide on opposite side; Prim took a walk around the search area before correctly alerting.
      Hide #3: start line adjusted to opposite end of the room. Another decent threshold search.
      Hide #4: we broke out the Easter eggs (with holes in them) just for variety and to have low rider” containers even closer to the ground. We tried a middle threshold hide as this was something that she struggled with on the interiors yesterday. I think she likes the “rolling” effect. 🙂

      What do you see?

      Quick side note: Kim, as you may recall from other classes we have taken with you online, Prim literally has “baggage.” Over 1.5 years ago at one of our local training facilities, we were working containers primarily with luggage. One piece was taken out of the search area and placed on a tall file cabinet. As fate would have it, as Prim and I were searching, this large lug of a bag tipped off of the file cabinet and nearly hit Prim while searching in the search area. She was terrified, but I didn’t make a big deal of it and made her continue on. She did work it out. Although we’ve tried to desensitize her, it continues to be a real issue. We first noticed it a few weeks later at a trial, where she shut down and wanted to exit the room during the container search. I didn’t put it together until later that day, but I honestly believe it was the large luggage–that is when she went into Greyhound Sprint mode. Fast forward to tonight, we did attempt to video Prim with luggage. We both were relaxed (my husband the videographer and head cheerleader for Team Prim as well as me). It was a super easy threshold and we attempted several times. However, she simply wanted to do an entire interior search, and physically avoided being anywhere near the bag. We will continue working on this.

    • #8081

      It’s sort of a catch-22 to reward faster with containers. You want to be sure the dog knows odor is there and yet you want to pay before she paws. If you do practice containers on your own, you might experiment by diving in as soon as she puts her nose on the container to see if you can get the paw to diminish at all. Interestingly, she didn’t do that on the Easter egg. 🙂

      What I liked is that Prim WAS engaged and ready to search from the start line!

      You might experiment a little bit with the luggage. It’s really hard to “pair” on luggage because generally the hide is in a position where you can’t put food for the dog to get to or you don’t know where odor will escape from (seams). What you might do is lay luggage down on the side with a paired hide on top. You can even tuck it somewhere she can’t SEE it easily if you can get creative. It’s not about working trial hides it’s about getting her to not be afraid of luggage anymore. You could even start with smaller pieces like purses and backpacks if you think that will help.

      Thoughts?

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #8096
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Hi Kim,

      I agree with you: it is a Catch-22. I want to be sure she knows where the odor is, and at the same time, I want to avoid the “bat” gesture. I think she didn’t paw at the Easter egg because she was a bit surprised when it rolled, which isn’t a bad thing as it is a full time job to keep this girl on her toes 🙂

      Other updates:

      1. Low hides: This doesn’t seem to be an issue with an appropriate threshold start line. We reworked interior and exteriors and Prim was fine. Yay!

      2. Luggage: we will try laying the large luggage down on its side–this is a great idea. She doesn’t seem afraid of smaller bags, purses, or backpacks thank goodness, so maybe they can be out there as well. I will update you.

    • #8097
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Lesson #2: Vehicles

      On Friday, after raining for several hours, the weather turned much colder and it snowed. The roadways were hazardous with so much frozen ice underneath, as was our new driveway. (Sorry about our filthy vehicles. This is how it is in Alaska this time of year–all vehicles are pretty much Alaskan brown due to the fluctuating weather and sand/gravel that is put down to avoid slippage.)

      Today is Saturday. Early this morning, we went to tracking class. Prim is truly a footprint to footprint tracker, and her teacher, an Alaska Search and Rescue member, wanted us to work on endurance. Prim tracked 485 yards in the snow and 20 degrees F and she did an amazing job. The reason I mention this is that I didn’t know if Prim would be up for nosework afterwards: I was wrong! 🙂

      We have three thresholds to search in this video. I think the confident and synchronous starts made all of the difference. This was shot in the late afternoon; it is 30 degrees F.

      Hide #1: Blue vehicle; the hide is on the driver’s front side grill area.
      Hide #2: Black vehicle; the hide is in the middle of the front license plate.
      Hide #3: handcart; the hide is on the handle area closest to the start line.

      What do you see?

    • #8106

      Really nice! Prim was focused and you paid really fast! Great to see! 🙂

      And it looks cold. 😉

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #8119
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      When we both are “on,” we can do great things 🙂 It was freezing–I think that motivated us.

    • #8120
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Lesson #3: Corners/Edges

      Sunday was crisp and cool with very little wind. It is 22 degrees F.

      Hide #1: Outside corner near long wall. My bad. I reward too early. In real time, I really thought by her body movement that she would go around the rain gutter to the other side of the house despite her active sniffing.

      Hide #2: Inside corner near long wall. She begins more or less by using the rocks to then get to the underneath-area of spigot in the corner.

      Hide #3: Outside edge near wall on outside corner. My body movement inadvertently told her to look high. I need to watch my flailing arm gestures 🙂

      Hide #4: Outside edge near inside corner (door frame).

      What do you see?

    • #8157

      Nice!

      No worries about early payment. She was working the hide and I think it is better than paying too late. 🙂

      Prim looks very enthusiastic in these searches!

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #8231
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      She seems to be getting back into the groove. She loves the new house!

    • #8232
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Corners/Edges: Interiors

      Hide #1 : Outside corner near a long wall. She false alerts on the light switch, but works through.

      Hide #2: Inside corner near a long wall. She goes, as Prince says, “in through the out door.”

      Hide #3: Outside Edge near an inside corner. She initially goes high and then goes low.

      Hide #4: Outside Edge near an outside corner.

      Your thoughts?

    • #8242

      Two things to mention;

      Don’t forget to practice your calm threshold start. You tend to march in with Prim. 😉 I know that it’s hard to get in and pay fast and still stay back. I think you can delay payment slightly now. Prim is absolutely telling you when she’s found odor and she’s doing it with enthusiasm.

      Second thing – related to the first – is that you are crowding her in your quest to get in and pay faster. Maybe step back just a little at first to see if Prim gives you the same searching and indicating behaviors. Allow her the room to turn around, go back, etc. Gradually you’ll want to back up and give her even more space but only as much as you can w/o diminishing all the good things that are happening. 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #8245
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Thanks, Kim, for the feedback. I’ve found that overall, I need to be able to multitask. When I’m focused so intently on the fast payment, I forget about my physical space and the fact that I’m crowding Prim. When I’m concentrating on the leash length, I forget about other handling essentials. And so it goes…. 🙂 With practice and experience, I’m hoping to make some necessary changes.

      In any case, I will let her “drive” since she clearly is enthusiastic. I can’t tell you how happy I am to see that!

    • #8292
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Corners and Edges with Containers: this is a series of 3 hides in our narrow hallway. I appreciate Prim driving forward with gusto on each. I am trying not to crowd and don’t pay as fast, thus getting a paw. It is better than her usual “pay-me-now-pounce,” but it is a paw nevertheless. The last of these 3 I probably pay a milli-second early to avoid the bat action. Your thoughts?

    • #8308

      Good! You payed a lot earlier on the last search. One thing to note about the paw, is in the first search she did paw on a box that was NOT odor! Do you think she might have caught scent of trapping odor there?

      Something else interesting to note is how the odor seemed to rise and collect on the nightlight in the 3rd search. You see Prim checking it out in addition to the box. 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #8311
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Hi Kim,

      Thanks for your observations. I did notice on that first search was that paw on the non-odor box (and I was cringing on the inside!)…for if I know her like I believe I do, I think Prim trying to take a short cut. She has found in the past that if she touches the box ever so lightly, she can often hear the tin clanking. EEEK! Talk about a very bad habit from earlier training! Since we figured out what we think she is doing, we’ve combatted it by placing the odor in a secure tin that can’t be dislodged by a hound’s paw. (Love that putty!)

      As for the 3rd search, I did see her checking out that nightlight. The radiant heat on that concrete floor, I believe, was kicking in, with the heat (and thus the odor) rising. Cool. 🙂

    • #8313
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Corners and Edges with Vehicles:

      Goals: I tried to focus on having a positive start. I also didn’t want to crowd, yet I wanted to pay quickly.

      The good news is that I didn’t see the paw batting.

      What are your impressions?

    • #8332

      Prim looks good! She’s focused and working very quickly to solve the problem. Interesting on search 3. I wonder if she’s just had a lot of wheel area hides our of odor was actually collecting there? Yeah, no pawing! 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #8367
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Prim: Source of the Problem

      This was filmed this evening in the kitchen. I knew by Hide #2 that the treat I was using was too high interest. She returns to previous hides not to keep working necessarily, but in hopes of cashing in. This is particularly evident by the video’s end, where she is drooling more than usual.

      Hide #1: Threshold which Prim gets quickly.
      Hide #2: Prim works back to find the hide on the dishwasher. She goes back to this hide to get another treat as is indicative by the emphatic batting. I try to redirect.
      Hide #3: Kitchen stool (2nd in the row). In hindsight, I think she is catching the countertop hide (#6) on the first stool. I probably pull her off too soon thinking she is moving to the 2nd stool. My bad.
      Hide #4: Fridge. Watch her ear movement. She almost seems surprised that the hide is there. 🙂
      Hide #5: Kitchen chair.
      Hide #6: Edge of countertop. This one is difficult, I believe, due to its proximity to Hide #5 and the fact that the hot water baseboard which loops around the table is being used to heat this room–convergence. Note how Prim circles around and even jumps up on the wall near the mirror. It takes her some time to source, but she does do so just within the 3 minute timeframe.

      What do you see?

    • #8389

      Nice threshold work! I know it was hard to stay back with a small space but Prim worked the first hide very well. She did get a bit stuck then worked the second hide nicely thru the channel of the baseboard. There was a bit of crowding at the chairs but not too bad. She did have some trouble with the heat rising from the baseboard heater and maybe because there were a lot of hides in a small space. Might be something to work on to see if it’s the unique situation of the heater or if she needs to see more problems with a lot of hides? Your treat value might be high but she seems to be enjoying herself, based on her tail wag! 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #8406
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Hi Kim,

      Sorry about the delay. Due to our northern location and daylight savings ending last weekend, we are losing daylight quickly, about 5 minutes per day. This doesn’t sound like much, but with work schedules, it made it hard to tape in the daylight. Coupled with this is our unseasonable weather: freezing rain, making for undesirable exterior searches in the dark due to the ice levels.

    • #8407
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Prim Hardscape.

      Today it is overcast with light rain and 33 degrees. The hides are in the new rock terracing–plants to come next spring 🙂

      Hide #1: Threshold more or less. Prim finds this second. She actually works across the brick path and then above before zeroing in on it.

      Hide #2: This was in a curve, and I was surprised she found this one first.

      Hide #3: She gets this one, exhibiting batting behavior. I attempt to distract her and move her quickly on to next hide.

      Hide #4: Handler error: big duh. I totally spaced this one out. As a handler, I need to keep track of the number of known hides placed. I thought we found this one and didn’t realize until after reviewing the video. My husband tried to indicate we needed to keep going, but I was clearly oblivious 🙁

      Hide #5: She goes to the end of the driveway and works up and down before settling in on the source.

      Overall, I think this wall, with its nooks and crannies, was a great challenge for Prim. Because this literal hardscape was just installed, this is a new location for her to work and it was a good one.

    • #8414

      I love working rock walls! 🙂

      Much better with the pawing. I guess I’m not sure where hide #4 was? I saw her pulling around the corner of the rock wall, towards the road and across the driveway. Which way should she have gone?

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #8419
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      I think rock walls will be something we will work on regularly. Although there was a slight breeze, it was more of a challenge than I anticipated. Hide #4 was between #3 and #5 on the same side; there is a good camera shot of her walking right by it.

    • #8421
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Prim Softscape:

      This location is in our backyard on the septic mound. The scrub brush (elder and alder berries) bordering the house is wet due to the snow and ice melting as it is 40 degrees today–heat wave for this time of year 🙂 Extra challenge: the neighbors have recently seen a lynx prowling about and I know for sure Prim has noticed the arctic hares darting to and fro; their color has changed to almost white despite the lack of snow.

      Hide #1: on first septic spout. Prim does a great job of getting this one quickly. Nice drive.
      Hide #2: on second spout. We are on a positive roll.
      Hide #3: more or less on the same plane, but in the brush on the electrical box. She finds this easily.
      Hide #4 and #5: higher hides on the scrub brush on either side of the electrical box. This takes some time due to criterring and fascination with wet leaves and long grass. On #4, I am too heavy-handed. I didn’t intend to “lead” her, but I clearly do.

      In hindsight, I believe I should have been more firm with her when she entered the alders and was “cotton-tailing.” Due to Hides #4 and #5 being in the scrub, I wanted to allow for wind pattern. She is clearly not on task, though.

      Also, my overall impression was that Prim was really distracted today: it if wasn’t the environment, it was the water on
      the top of the septic cap.

    • #8430

      Interesting to see Prim get drawn so strongly to the critter smells in the area. I LOVE the process she went thru finding the 5th/final hide! Fascinating to watch her slowly emerge from the critter focus to odor. 🙂

      I have a thought – not sure if it would work or not? I’m guessing due to the highly distracting environment, Prim doesn’t get much of a chance to visit this area. Do you think it would make a difference if you allowed Prim to spend about 3-5 minutes investigating this area (or other distracting place like this), put her back in the house, set odor and let it cook for a little while, then run her? My thinking is that you gave her permission to investigate all the things she WANTS to check out and then when you come out to find odor she’s already gotten that out of her system. ? I guess you then have the option of just putting her up if she chooses not to work odor. You could *help* by pairing but with critters in the area that could add an invitation to the critters. 😉

      What are you thoughts about that?

      And BTW, your moving of Prim from her distraction did not appear to be too heavy-handed. 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #8439
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Hi Kim,

      Thanks for your thoughtful feedback. I like your action plan of letting Prim explore such a highly distracting environment. We may have to wait until bears hibernate and the moose are out of rut, but it is a possibility soon.

      The Cottontail may complicate the issue, though. Since we moved here, Prim finds him and his family particularly enticing as she spends much of her indoor time spying him from the windows. Trust me, she definitely sees him and does the head cock trying to figure him and his movements out. In fact, my husband and I do “recon” before taking Prim out to potty due to the numerous arctic hares and her attraction to them. Being part greyhound, Prim has incredible sprinting speed and I don’t want her to catch him, hence my hesitation. (Peter and Crew are consistently in the thick scrub where we were working in the video. There is hardly a day when we haven’t noticed them.)

      Glad to know I wasn’t too heavy-handed. Prim can be incredibly focused when she is crittering, and I noticed on the video the tight leash and my exasperated look trying to literally move her along.

      I agree; I loved seeing her work Hide #5. This was the reason I chose to post this video 🙂

    • #8446

      I would NOT let her investigate off-leash! LOL! But yes, when it is safe, it would be a great experiment to see if she can evaluate the environment first, then ask her to search for our odors a short time later! 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #8454
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Can’t Reach That Hide: Barrier

      Prim makes short time of this exercise. She exhibits confidence and drive. 🙂

    • #8463

      First off, I LOVE your chair! Coolest decor in a video I’ve seen to date! 😉

      Good job, Miss Prim! 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #8469
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Thanks, Kim, for your generous comments. We love the chairs, too (there are 2 total, but only 1 in the video). I was bent on having them for the new house due to their shape and color, and when I went to purchase, they were 75% off. Score! 🙂

      Can’t Reach That Hide: Maze

      In this lesson, Prim definitely makes decisions and views the maze not as a barrier to where she’s going, but rather as “landscape” that she needs to thoroughly search. This is evident as she checks for odor on the stools and two different types of chairs. I’m surprised at the route she chooses as I wasn’t counting on her going around the large house plant. At around second 32, she flips her head as she rotates her body around and she backs up to trace the hide to the source–I definitely know that she is in odor by her body language and zoom in to treat as she communicates that she’s found the hide. Note the wagging nubbins. That’s the sign of success and a great exercise. 🙂

    • #8478

      Nice job, Prim! SUPER on task and really working odor!

      Ok, I love all your decor! (Breakfast nook chairs, yes?) FUN! 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #8491
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      They are the breakfast nook chairs. Thanks! We wanted something artsy and they fit the bill. 🙂

      Loved the maze exercise as Prim was really engaged. It is so nice to see. Don’t know if I mentioned, but within two weeks of moving into the new house, we were asked to be prepared to evacuate as a human-set wildfire was burning out of control on the mountain ridge within 2 miles of our abode. I believe Prim must have experienced a fire prior to us adopting her from the shelter as she was the most fearful I’ve ever seen her. In fact, in anticipation of being asked to leave mandatorily, we did board her at her usual doggy daycare until things settled down and the smoke literally cleared. [The hot shot crew from CA along with local fire fighters and emergency responders were fantastic; I can’t express my sincere gratitude for what they did and the level of professionalism they showed. Thank goodness there were no casualties or houses destroyed; the wind direction changed and burned old growth instead.] Sooo, long story short, we had the move, my sister’s out-of-state visit, the fire, and Prim’s surgery (growth removed from her mouth)–all within 2 weeks time. I can’t tell you how absolutely reassuring it is to have our hound safe, sound, healthy, and eager to work. It makes all of the difference. 🙂

    • #8506

      WOW! That’s a lot to deal with for Prim AND for you both! Glad to hear things ended up ok!

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #8511
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Can’t Read That Hide: Closed Access

      Prim agains shows determination at sourcing this rather inaccessible hide. She is thorough, yet quick. Because of the rather tight space (near where the hide is–there is a wall directly behind), I try to remain back as to not crowd. However, there is a cost: I am slow to reward her. I swoop in, but she is already exhibiting batting behavior.

    • #8513

      But VERY clear that there is a hide out of her reach! 🙂 Good!

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #8539
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Can’t Reach That Hide, Part 2:

      It is clear and cold today, 20 degrees F. Here are the out-of-reach hides:

      #1: on the end; Prim gives a clear alert;
      #2: approximately 6″ higher than the previous. She doesn’t have a problem.
      #3: approximately 6″ higher than the previous. On the other side of the deck on the end; note the circling behavior around deck and rail before giving a clear alert. She definitely is motivated to find the source.
      #4: Bonus hide taped after and spliced onto this: waaaaay high hide. She seemed to love this challenge as well. 🙂

    • #8557

      Super!! She does like the high hides! 🙂

      (Now, don’t forget the ground hides! 🙂 )

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #8565
      Stefanie Alexander
      Participant

      Bonanza: This exercise used 12 total containers with 3 odors, 3 blanks, and 6 distractors (all of Prim’s favorite things). This is in our basement and the floors are radiant concrete–this has caused confusion in the past with the scent wafting upward. I elect to use the shorter leash rather than the long line as Prim has issues with showing too much exuberance when she isn’t paid quickly enough. My goals are to give her space to work, reward quickly, and avoid box destruction.

      Box A: Zuke’s Pork and Apple Link
      Box B: Homemade Maple Sourdough Ebelskiver (pancake)
      Box C: Caru Real Pork Stew Wet Dog Food
      Box D: Diddly Dee, Prim’s favorite singing monkey toy
      Box E: Pumpkin Tuscany Sauce
      Box F: Penzey’s Apple Pie Spice Blend
      Odor Boxes: Duct taped box closest to the start line and 2 smaller Roomba boxes

      Prim immediately steps on the duct taped odor box, but does not alert. At around second 24, she appears to be in an odor pool and traces the odor along the armoire (medium high) and the metal art on the wall (high). She then walks past this box, almost avoiding it (?). She does attack both Roomba boxes, pawing enthusiastically. I treat and move her onward. Not surprisingly, she is particularly interested in Box E as well as Box B (just about a false alert which I ignore). Near the end of the video, she returns to the first hide and pushes it with her nose–not her clearest alert ever, but I do reward here as I wanted to end on a positive note.

      This was an extremely difficult exercise as we’ve never worked that many favorite distractors at once, but I think overall Prim did well 🙂

    • #8615

      Poor Prim – all of her favorite things and she gets none! 😉

      Distractors can be very hard for some dogs. The *KEY* is to let them sniff the distractors but they get rewarded very well when they choose to go to odor instead. If you had let her continue to sniff things multiple times and still paid her enthusiastically and well when she got to odor the desire to go to the distractors should begin to fade as she becomes resigned to the fact that she cannot have them. Now, your reward might need to be of higher value to overrule her desire for the distractors, too. 🙂

      I do think you could have paid her faster. As SOON as she hesitated even slightly at an odor box you could pay;
      First box (:04) – she lingers for a couple of moments but didn’t stick it and instead she left it (too many other things to sniff)
      First box (:24) – she barely acknowledged it but I would have dived in and paid anyhow because of this challenge
      First box (:32) – now she’s avoiding it
      Second box (:34) – she sniffs it and then paws at (:35) – I’d have RACED her to the box for payment before the paw.
      Third box (:51) – she sniffs it and then paws at (:52) – same thing as the second odor box
      First box (1:04) – she sniffs it, starts to move it around at (1:05)and almost leaves it at (1:07) but fortunately you pay her at that point and she is rewarded.

      You can see these are split second decisions that make the difference between noticing the box, pawing, getting paid. If you can get in the moment she hesitates you can eliminate the paw. I also think the paw is partly due to her frustration of having all the distractors around! This is a WORKABLE problem! I’d do more of it if I were you since this was tough for Prim.

      Honestly, when I’ve done this type of exercise in class, I WANT the dog to sniff the distractors, especially those they’re more interested in (unless they get destructive!) but they soon learn that the odor is where they get rewarded and soon they either leave the distractors alone or the handler can really read the difference. 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

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